Photo: Angelina Denefield/Soapbox Art

Online content creation has exploded in the past several years, leading to a rise in digital entrepreneurship and the Afro Tech community. Among those are indie authors generating capital through e-books and other writing material. Although this avenue might prove to be fruitful, one thing can't be skipped during the writing process — editing. It's all about the editing.

Here are five questions that all indie authors can ask before hiring a freelance editor: 

1. What books have you edited before?

Not only do you need proof that a potential freelancer has edited an entire book, but you should also make sure they have experience in your genre. Asking a non-fiction editor to edit your paranormal mystery might not be ideal. 

2. Where is the link to your website?

Websites reveal a lot about freelancers. A clear and focused website that details the editor's background, portfolio or writing skills can help you make an informed decision. If their website looks like it's stuck in the Windows '95 era and you can't tell if they edit for a living, you might want to keep searching.

3.  Do you have any referrals?

Referrals are essential. Authors who've previously worked with the editor you're considering can tell you about the freelancer's work ethic, attitude and skill-level. Michelle Stimpson, a fellow authoress, has an awesome book that recommends freelance editors

4. What type of editing do you do?

There are key differences between a proofreader, a copy editor, a line editor and a ghostwriter. You want to make sure you're paying for what you want and not being forced into something you really don't need. 

5. May I see your contract?

Once an indie author chooses an editor, the important part comes next — the contract. The contract should lay out how much the editor charges (whether it's per word, per page, per hour), whether they will need a down payment, what the turnaround will be, and other information that protects both the writer and editor.  

Fantastic freelance editors do exist, but inexperienced ones are also floating around. Be careful out there, indie authors. And always remember, keep writing.

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